A visual cohesion, a collection, a series related. The initial and natural response is that of following the beauty of things and some common denominator, preferably visual, possibly technical as suggested in the course. Entering ongoing discussions about beauty versus emotion, about the human factor versus aesthetics. Initially lead by this relatively simple brief and started “collecting” people with umbrellas in the rain, later on, garbage bins in the city, more specifically, what people through just next to the bin or roughly in that area.


However, every time looking at the daily catch, the essay of Benjamin entered the room. Can there be emotion by making a photograph of a thing, a thing of beauty just for that reason only? Is a face a thing or emotion? Can there be emotion in a clinical and methodically created collection of things? Is Atget’s work socio-aesthetic or merely aesthetic in an urban environment? Is Renger-Patzsch just beautiful indeed and is that perhaps sufficient, where is the emotion in the work of Bettina von Zwehl or can we do without and still be engaged by artisticity as such?


Single subjects seemed too simple, a collection of things, views, heads, intrinsically sounded emotionless. Furthermore, with the increase of social density and the growing negative influence of men on the environment, the concept for this assignment had to connect there too. The impression (suggestion even OCA) one needs to drive or fly to make artistically valuable photographs is hardly defendable anymore in our global and extreme urgent struggle for a better climate and healthier environment.


The concept developed further during contemplations on the environment, contemporary social pressure and behaviour, always travelling nearby and by foot. People seem to form the key to the series in mind. Thinking about the numerous inspirational work of collections of gas stations, houses, facades, it seemed apparent to include people explicitly. This time not a face or portrait, but in a social setting that is so familiar to everybody, it hardly seems worth photographing. People waiting at a tram-stop. One of the greener, electrical and space-friendly options of transportation and few motorised solutions that probably can exist further in almost chokingly densifying urban environments across the globe. Suddenly the connections were there for the creation of this assignment.


Final Selection Photographs

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Tram Stop Theaters

Assignment theme


The series shows the (lack of) social interaction of people travelling through the city, waiting for the Tram. A collection of tram-stops with a collection of people with a collection of emotions. The tram stop takes the role of the podium of a theatre. The people are the static actors in a play. Diversity and equality are always there to see. A collection arose with ten different places and numerous people — Staring at each other, observing, judging — Looking at their mobile, kissing, grouping, holding hands, icing — Young, old, rich, poor.


Almost sensing the social pressure, the difficulty people have interacting as soon as their mobile-phone-bubble is absent, even for a minute. See the judgements, assumptions and convictions. If not to each other, then towards me, the photographer. Is this the reason so many young people wearing black clothes? The fear of being different, the fear of social expel, is this different now that it was a decade ago? Do not stand out, the demands are too high, the risk of exposure too big, stay within yourself and never be really different?


Combined, the series does form a visual and coherent collection of places and people. Not for beauty sake and sometimes simply unaesthetic, but expressing human and human behaviour in all its diversity and influenced by all kinds of social pressure and new forms of interactions providing a multiple podium theatre to contemporary urban environments.


The photographs selected are all taken on foot and within walking distance, the most environmentally friendly transport available — multiple days and hours of walking through rain, wind and ever-changing light.


The wide 16:9 format emphasises the theatrical setting of the tram-stops and the strict alignment of the curb. The flat colours reduce some distraction and the overcrowded colouring of the backgrounds to focus on the people, their expressions, gestures, poses and possibly indeed, their emotions. The colour orange, is mostly accidentally present in every image, providing an unintended and slightly humourous  link to the Dutch national colour.